Month: November 2015

MIWW-goal met!

One of my goals for this year was to participate in my district Make It With Wool contest. After completing my celery boucle jacket I assumed that I was well on my way…until I read the application form. All fabrics are now required to be submitted to the Montana State University Wool Lab for fabric analysis. Time was tight but I sent off my samples and started on my black wool pants.

The pants should have been simple. After working on my pattern some more, I thought I’d be in great shape…except for the fact that our basement flooded a bit over the summer, and guess what one item was destroyed?  The pants pattern pieces! UGH. I discovered this little trouble the day AFTER the pattern sale finished at Hancocks…I could either pay the full $21 or wait until Labor Day weekend. I waited. Our contest was mid September, so I knew it would be a quick job, but I figured I could get them done in plenty of time.

I decided to remeasure because I wasn’t as pleased with the brown cordoroy’s fit. I opted for the straight slim fit knowing I could let out the seams easily with the 1 inch seam allowances. The pants went together easily, and I was considering how I would do a lining for them when my fabric analysis returned.

My wonderful celery wool boucle was an imposter! It had only 30% wool content, making it ineligible for MIWW, which requires more the 50%. Now what?! I was literally days away, and had a pair of pants. Thankfully, we have a drawer with leftover Pendleton from my daughter’s projects, and after pulling everything out, I did find a black plaid remnant from a circle skirt she made in high school. Unfortunately, there was not much there, especially if the plaid had to be matched. I returned to my closet and located a shell that would possibly work and sure enough, I was able to cut a front and back. There was plenty of bias available so I did a bias binding on the sleeves and arm holes. Thankfully, I had a great first attempt on the seams, so within a day I had a two-piece outfit again.

imageThe operative word for this foray was participate, so I was simply glad to meet my goal. I was looking forward to seeing the other outfits and to picking out my prize, 2 1/2 yards of Pendleton…who cares about winning when that is your reward for participating! I headed off to Newell, SD (geographical center of the United States) home of the Center of the Nation Ram Sale, and for the first time in about 10 years modeled a garment…not my forte, as you can see above. I thoroughly enjoyed visiting with the others, and the wool laid out for prizes was amazing!

To my delight, and amazement, because the other adults were in a different district and category, I got the opportunity to go the state competition the following weekend in my home town (how convenient), and soon realized it meant another prize of 2 1/2  yards of wool! The state contest was an opportunity to catch up with some 4-H families I’d not seen in several years, and to learn more about our state’s unique competition. The garments were truly inspiring, and while I knew I was well out of my league, it sure was a fun day.image


…And the Fun Continues…

The previous post was written a year ago…did I continue sewing? Yes, but I’m terrible at pictures, so I never posted The Pants Adventure until this week, when I was inspired to continue blogging. My blog is probably never going to be noticed by many people, but it encourages me to keep a record of what I am working on, and I’m going to use for that. If people start reading, and are encouraged or inspired, or just laugh, that will be fine, but if no one but me ever reads it, that’s OK too.

So I did continue my pants adventure…It started by me taking pictures of the first pants, a year and many washes after they were first constructed.  Pictures don’t lie…the fit doesn’t look as good as I thought it would. I can’t really blame that on the time lapse either. In the end it doesn’t matter…my pattern got caught in a water adventure in my basement and was destroyed. I had to buy another one and start from scratch again.

I did make the brown corduroys and they are much looser than the original pair, possibly because of the much softer fabric, or probably because I didn’t get the alterations transposed to the pattern correctly. So maybe it’s a good thing the pattern is gone! The cords were a great exercise for me though. I wanted them to be sewn so well that I could consider entering them in the county fair. I learned several things from sewing the first pair, so I took care of serging a few seams earlier in the process, which really made the inside look great. I’m proud of them…not as proud of the fit, but they are comfortable and still fit better than any of my RTW pants.

imageAnd, I made them to go with this project…..  I found this wool/ silk boucle type fabric during my shopping expedition, and thought it would be a great addition to my work wardrobe. I also fell in love with the buttons. The pattern I had, just waiting for the right fabric to inspire me. I confess the wool had me thinking about the Make it yourself with wool contest I used to take my daughter to.

Those buttons were screaming, “Take me home!” at the fabric store. They are beautiful shell buttons and match the fabric perfectly. The only problem is that the jacket calls for 12, yes, 12 buttons…after fingering the fabric for maybe five seconds, I chickened out completely on buttonholes of any kind. I can do bound buttonholes, and do them well enough, but I am much too out of practice to attempt 12 on this fabric! After all, I want to wear the jacket. I have a vintage hounds tooth wool jacket in my closet that has a very loose weave, and it had snaps. So, I decided snaps it would be.

That crisis solved, I was ready to sew. I did a little on-line research, to see if anyone had any comments on the pattern, and discovered that it ran big enough that people recommended going down a size unless it would be an outerwear coat. I wanted something for the office, so down a size for me.

I was quite happy with the finished project and the overall look of the outfit. I am no fashion plate, so I don’t look very put together, but I like this combination, especially for my job. I never know if I’ll be teaching, hauling junk, chasing kids or running to meetings with staff, parents or teens, so this is a good look for me.

DSCN0320The actual sewing went very well…I serged every single possible seam since the jacket was unlined, and I think I have it contained adequately. The pockets are the same size and shape, as are the flaps, and the collar is sitting where it belongs. The sleeves look good, smooth and even, though I may still add a bit of a sleeve head to help them keep their shape. Again, the idea here was to get me back into sewing, so I didn’t want to go tailoring crazy yet. My plan was to do a great job sewing, but choose to add the more sophisticated tailoring techniques, not be compelled to do them.

I did enter this outfit in our very small County Fair, (as in 30 pieces of sewing, maybe) and got some good comments on the construction, and no surprises. I’m going to send my swatch in, along with a piece of black wool and set my sights on participating in the wool contest. Note, I said PARTICIPATING. I have no visions of grandeur here…there’s a lady that lives about 60 miles down the road and she is amazing. I’ll be glad to enjoy the afternoon, and come home with a new piece of Pendleton!